If the answer is "Yes", then you and your customer definitely need to be members of the Fruit and Vegetable Dispute and Resolution Corporation (DRC). If you should ever encounter a dispute with one of your customers in Canada, aside from taking expensive legal action, the only remedy for effectively, economically and quickly resolving a contract dispute is to submit the matter to the DRC for handling. Similar to the USDA , PACA, the DRC provides established rules of practice or protocols for shippers and receivers to settle disputes, which includes binding arbitration. The key to utilizing this cost effective mediation or arbitration system of the DRC is only through membership. You and your customer must be members prior to any disputed transaction. Currently there are approximately 1052 Canadian members (representing over 90% of Canadian buyers) and 362 U.S. members.
My experience has shown that when filing a complaint with the DRC, in most instances it can be resolved in the informal stages, which is on average within 90 days. However, if it cannot be resolved informally you must then pursue formal arbitration with the DRC, and I am confident you will be pleased to see how timely a formal decision is issued.
The price for a membership fee for a U.S. company to join the DRC is $740.00 annually which in my professional opinion is an outstanding investment in maintaining and expanding a stable Canadian market place and provides a pre-established line of site for handing and resolving disputes, should you ever encounter a disagreement with one of your Canadian customers. With the protection of the DRC, if you had just one dispute, your membership fee would be paid for many times over.
My office handles both PACA complaints on behalf of Western Growers members as well as DRC complaints, and in my experience both processes will result in a full review of the facts by someone experienced and familiar with produce transactions. Should you encounter any disputed situation or have any question about the DRC or wish to determine whether or not your customer is DRC member, please feel free to contact me, (949) 885-2269).